Friday, August 23, 2013

Tennis Legends Tributes to Honor African-Am​erican Icon Althea Gibson on Forever Stamp

Today, August 23, on the grounds of the U.S. Open, tennis legends Billie Jean King and Katrina Adams payed tribute at a 10 a.m. First-Day-of-Issuance Forever stamp dedication ceremony honoring tennis legend Althea Gibson as the 36th inductee into the Postal Service’s Black Heritage stamp series
The event, free and open to the public, took place near the plaque honoring Gibson that is located at the south entrance of the U.S. Tennis Association Billie Jean King National Tennis Center Court of Champions.
Customers may purchase the Althea Gibson Forever stamp at, at 800-STAMP-24 (800-782-6724) and at Post Offices nationwide.
The Postal Service will also honor Gibson at a special 10 a.m. stamp dedication ceremony Sat., Aug. 24 at the Althea Gibson Tennis Complex, located at the Essex County Branch Brook Park in Newark, NJ.
“I’m excited that the Postal Service is releasing a Forever stamp that honors the legacy of my friend, Althea Gibson,” said King.
“Her achievements served as a catalyst for equality in sports and in life and I am honored to participate in this historic event.” 
As the first African-American tennis player to win one of the four major singles tournaments, Althea Gibson (1927–2003) helped integrate her sport at the height of the civil rights movement. She twice won Wimbledon and the U.S. Championships (now known as the U.S. Open) and became the top-ranked player in the world.

King and Adams will join U.S. Postal Service Judicial Officer William Campbell and U.S. Tennis Association Director at Large Chanda Rubin and a host of other professional athletes and coaches in the dedication ceremony.
“Althea Gibson was impossible to ignore,” said Campbell. “Her achievements demanded Americans everywhere pay attention — and pay attention they did. She opened doors that other African-American tennis players would one day walk through — including Arthur Ashe, Katrina Adams, Chanda Rubin and the Williams sisters, Venus and Serena.”
The stamp, which features an action shot of Gibson, emphasizes two of her notable characteristics:  grace and athleticism. Designed by Derry Noyes of Washington, DC, the stamp features an oil-on-wood painting of Gibson by artist Kadir Nelson of Los Angeles, CA. The art is based on a photograph taken at Wimbledon. 
You can read more about the first female athlete to be inducted into the Black Heritage stamp collection series here.
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